Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Toilet for Tea

Something about this set up tickled my fancy this morning. It was either Violet or Abigail, probably Abigail and she had obviously sneaked the furniture out of Madeline's room to play with in the lounge. I found it like this, set up on the sofa. I can only imagine what was going through her head as she found three chairs to go around the dining room table and had to look around for a fourth. Aha, a toilet! That will do! The most obvious solution to a four-year-old.
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Round the Mountain Road Trip

Me and the kids at our first destination: Wilkie's Pools

Me and two characters (aka Violet and Abigail)

More theatrics, looking out over South Taranaki from Dawson Falls

Seen this before? Violet and Abigail on the swings at Opunake Beach

Sam (ditto)

Madeline (ditto)

Sam and Madeline exploring Opunake Beach together

Abigail with her birthday cake creation

Voila! The birthday cake creation masterpiece!

Heading up to the Cape Lighthouse

The Cape Lighthouse

Paul and the kids in front of the lighthouse (most disappointed that they couldn't go in).

The view of the Tasman from the Cape Lighthouse

Pigeons also enjoying the view.

Looks like we're pretending we're away on holidays: the children slept together in Sam's room last night, and with another beautiful day blossoming ahead of us, we hit the road. Our route was fairly well planned and relied on our first stop: Eltham cheese shop. Finally found it in a roundabout way and with the chilly bin loaded, we headed up the mountain, to Dawson Falls precisely. A quick bite of a muffin and we were off, not to the falls themselves but up the mountain to one of our favourite spots, Wilkie's Pools. Now, if you know Violet and that she starts whining after five steps, you'll see that it was a huge achievement that we actually got there. She's in training, working on her endurance at the moment. Not for Cross Country next year, oh no: Disneyland in January! We thoroughly enjoyed the tramp, especially the adventurous river crossing and the pools themselves were spectacular as always. An hour twenty round trip brought us back down for a homeade bread, cheese, butter and ham picnic. Accompanied by chocolate yoghurts and Coke for Paul and the kids. But no coffee for me: all thermosed up and left behind on the bench! Pity, that.

After a pit stop at the lookout (and the toilets, yes) we were off again and wound our way down to Opunake. Found a lovely playground and a must-re-visit campground on the beach for an afternoon of fun and relaxation. Nice little place, but no obvious coffee shop, except for the mainstreet "tea rooms." I'm too much of a coffee snob to try them out for the black stuff. Back in the van and the next stop was the Cape Lighthouse further along the coast. The children loved seeing a real live Lighthouse, but were so disappointed to discover they weren't actually allowed to go in it. I think they had visions of a tackling ghosts and hearing old sea stories all night, ala Berenstein Bears.

Back on the road and heading towards home, all feeling rather jaded. We took a wee jaunt up the road to see Lucy's Gully, knowing we'd have to go back another time for an actual walk. We also missed the Stony River, so that's on the list for next time too. Drove through Oakura at dinner time only to discover that our favourite Wunderbar is now generically named something like "Oakura Restaurant" and decided that was a no-go. With no hope of gourmet pizzas on the beach, we pressed on towards KFC. I know, I know, but I had a coupon in my pocket, and to be honest we all wanted to get home. Home indeed, for very fast fast-food on the patio and the exhausted children were quick-smarted off to bed. Feet up on the sofa, computer and memory card in hand, and wouldn't you know it, the coffee is still hot! What a great day.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Kitty Kitty Eyes at East End Beach

Looking for treasure in the rock pools

Madeline showing Abby the Cat's Eyes

See? Cat's eyes!

Sam and Daddy exploring the waterline

Abigail exploring on her own.

Abby's pile of Kitty Kitty eyes

Madeline and Daddy at the waterline

Sam constructing dams in the sand (naturally!)

Violet and Sam

Mummy and Madeline going exploring

We woke to another fabulous spring day this morning and decided our beautiful children deserved an outing. The reserve at East End Beach was beckoning! We started out at the river mouth, playing with rocks and shells, eating our lunch and fording across to the sand dunes on the other side. We moved on to a little play on the playground and then decided that God's natural playground at the beach was much more tempting. The tide was right out and the rock pools held promises of treasure. Mussles were aplenty and then some tiny little things that Madeline asserted with great confidence were Cat's eyes, having done a sea study at school. Sam, having also done a sea study at school wasn't so sure of the feline nature of these creatures, but bless him, he kept his doubts to himself. The search was on for crabs and star fish; alas, not a single one to be found! Paul and I took turns venturing out to the waterline with the children and I noticed that Abigail was the most content playing by herself in a pool. When I asked her what she was doing, she said, "collecting Kitty Kitty eyes." I wonder if they'll still be doing a sea study at St. Pat's when Abby goes to school.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tariki Farm Visit

First a disclaimer: I still have to put up Sam's birthday Part 2 but the photos are on another memory card which I have misplaced for the time-being. I'm sure I'll remember where it is at some point, but for now, life goes on.
This is the second week of the September/October School Holidays and I can finally say with certainty that spring has sprung. We have had three days of glorious sunshine and I think everyone in Taranaki has been out walking their dog or in their garden...or most likely both! I had the pleasure of taking the kids to visit a friend and her two children in Tariki who live on a farm with a stream. We had a fantastic visit last July and it was a priority to do it Well, at last, weather permitted and off we went with our gumboots and camera in tow. Annelise has a fantastic playground for the kids, both man-made and natural. The children love the see-saw and sandpit, the bikes and the building toys (can't remember the Danish word for them!) but they also love trekking through the pastures, climbing the giant felled tree and ultimately, throwing boats down the waterfall and seeing them float down the stream, catching them at the bottom. It was a magic day and it was really only Annelise who got wet, so rather successful too.